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Waikato Management School research wins funding

Media Release
September 30, 2008

Waikato Management School research on innovation and Maori workplace relations wins Marsden funding

Two new research projects out of the University of Waikato Management School – one which aims to uncover the role played by innovation in economic growth and development and another which looks at the role of Maori culture in the workplace – have won funding from the Marsden Fund for the next three years.

In addition, a third research project has gained further funding for two years.

The Marsden Fund is a government-backed contestible fund which supports excellence in leading-edge research in New Zealand.

Funding worth $705,000 goes to economist Professor Philip McCann over three years for research into the development of a new theoretical model and empirical analysis regarding the role played by innovation in economic growth.

In collaboration with Professor Les Oxley from the University of Canterbury, Prof McCann will be examining the relationships between the characteristics of the firm, the industry and the economic geography, and resulting links between innovation and growth as mediated by each of these sets of characteristics.

“New Zealand is a great testbed for differing theories and models,” he said. “Geographically, it’s basically a straight line with its main centre at one end, it’s got a limited number of people and good data collection systems. That makes it easier to analyse the role that regions and cities play in innovation, and how changes in the urban structure contribute to changes in innovation.”

Assoc Prof Jarrod Haar of the Department of Strategy and Human Resource Management secured $300,000 in Fast-Start funding for his kaupapa Maori research into workplace relations. “The project will look at what influence support of Maori culture might have in all organisations employing Maori,” he said. “I suspect companies that are more supportive of indigenous culture will have a more satisfied workforce, which in turn will have positive benefits for the organisation.”

Dr Haar plans to survey 400 Maori workers and another 400 employers – split between Maori and non-Maori organisations – relying more on face-to-face meetings and hui rather than traditional mail-out questionnaires.

The leader of the third research project, Prof John Gibson – named NZIER Economist of the Year for 2008, was awarded $410,000 to continue his Marsden-funded research into the wealth and health effects of migration.

Waikato Management School Director of Research Prof Delwyn Clark said the Marsden funding was excellent news for the School's top scholars. “Professors McCann and Gibson are international leaders in their fields, and their research contributes to the wealth and wellbeing of us all. Dr Haar’s Fast Start award will enable him to expand his doctoral research on workplace relations into the Maori sphere, an area of huge and growing importance.”


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